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Onion crisis: India imports 18,000 tonnes from Egypt

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New Delhi: As onion prices continue at a high of Rs 60-70, India is importing large quantities of the much-needed vegetable from Egypt, which has exported 18,000 tonnes to India during the last two months.

The more reddish coloured onions from Egypt have been making their way to Indian vegetable mandis over the last few weeks.

According to a statement by an Egyptian competent authority, the Indian imports of onions from Egypt during August and September 2015 stood at 18,000 tonnes.

A similar amount is in the pipeline for being exported to India.

Egyptian export of onions to India is estimated to reach around 35,000 tonnes in 2015-16, up from 567 tonnes in 2014-15.

The onion crops in India were damaged following heavy unseasonal rains in onion producing states. Traders are also reported to have hoarded onions, leading to scarcity and high prices.

The small stocks of onions at Mother Dairy booths in the capital, which sells them at below Rs 40, gets exhausted by 6:30 AM.

India has been importing onions from Egypt and Afghanistan to tide over the crisis.

The import of onions from Egypt is the highest to date. In 2013-2014, India imported 314 tonnes of onions from Egypt, while there was no import the previous year. In 2014-15, India imported 576 tonnes of onions.

India also imports oranges from Egypt.

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U.N. Urges Egypt To Halt All Executions Based On Confessions Obtained Against Torture

“There is significant cause for concern that due process and fair trial guarantees may not have been followed in some or all of these cases, and that the very serious allegations concerning the use of torture were not properly investigated,” Colville said.

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Egypt
Family members of those convicted and executed for the killing of public prosecutor Hisham Barakat gather at Zynhom morgue in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 20, 2019, as they wait for their bodies to be released. VOA

The U.N. Human Rights Office is urging Egypt to halt all executions and to conduct investigations into all allegations that people are subjected to the death penalty based on confessions obtained under torture.

Egypt has executed 15 people in February and the U.N. Human Rights Office notes the month is not yet over. The agency reports nine people were executed this week in a case related to the killing of Egypt’s General Prosecutor, Hisham Barakat.

Regarding six other killings earlier this month, it says three men were convicted of assassinating a police officer and three others in connection with the murder of the son of a judge.

Human rights office spokesman Rupert Colville said in all cases the defendants have told the court they were subjected to torture to make them confess to the crimes of which they were accused.

FILE - A defendant is seen caged in a courtroom in Torah prison, southern Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 22, 2015.
A defendant is seen caged in a courtroom in Torah prison, southern Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 22, 2015. VOA

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In June 2017, the U.N. Committee against Torture completed a four-year confidential inquiry and concluded that torture is “practiced systematically” in Egypt. Colville told VOA the recent allegations of torture, in almost all of these cases, come against this well-established backdrop that torture is endemic in Egypt.

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“If torture was used to make a confession a considerable part of the prosecution’s case, then that should not be admitted in court. That confession produced under torture should not be admissible. And when these allegations have been brought up by the defense lawyers and so on, our belief is they are not being taken seriously enough by the courts,” he said.

Colville said a number of individuals convicted under similar circumstances in Egypt have exhausted all legal proceedings. He says they currently are on death row at imminent risk of execution. (VOA)